ISLAMABAD: Senate Special Committee on Performance of PIA on Monday expressed concern over 21% decrease in revenue of the national flag-carrier registered in a six month period from January to June 2016.
The committee meeting – chaired by Mushahid Ullah Khan – directed the management of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to give due attention towards capacity building of its flight crew, ensuring improved facilities and services to passengers besides making the airlines a strong competitor in the market.
The airline’s authorities cited the reason of low fuel price in the international market and tough competition with other airlines behind the decreased revenue.
PIA Chairman Azam Saigol said the government had 91.7% shares in the airlines, converted into a company on April 19, 2016 and being governed under the Companies Ordinance 1984, while the public shares were 4.4% and PIA employees Empower Trust shares 3.9%.
He apprised the body that the PIA fleet was consisted of 38 aircrafts including 11 A320 Airbuses, five A310 Airbuses, 11 Boeing 777, 6 ATR 42 and 5 ATR 72, adding that currently the PIA’s permanent staff strength was 14,317. “Employees to per aircraft ratio are 376,” he added.
Saigol said that efforts were being made to further expand the fleet and hopefully it would reach the 42 figure during the current financial years. He said the domestic market shares of PIA had increased from 42%to 65% during the period from January to May during the last fiscal year. Presently, he said, PIA flights were operating to 49 destinations including 27 international and 22 domestic. “It has a market share of 24% in international and 47 in domestic air travel market during 2015 whereas for 2016, it has been projected at 27% and 68% respectively,” he added.
The chairman said PIA was introducing its premium service brand titled ‘PIA Premier’ aimed at restoring the confidence of passengers in the airlines. Initially, he said, PIA launched the service with improved features and facilities at par with leading airlines to the passengers on London sector. When the panel was informed that PIA was answerable to the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan after its conversion into a company, Farhatullah Babar said parliamentarian had the right to exercise their oversight role as the public money was involved in PIA and “It is our responsibility.”
He regretted that a foreigner had been appointed chief executive officers of PIA, which was tantamount to discouraging its senior management. The PIA management could not satisfy the committee members about the financial matters. The PIA authorities informed the body that they had a plan to operate flights on new international routes including Barcelona, Milan and Bangkok besides increasing flights to New York.